UNIONS

Met Opera Building Workers To Rally Later Today

The Met Opera

A day after Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb warned of a potential lockout over the troubled cultural institution’s contract negotiations with its employees, the union representing security guards, office clerks, ushers and other less-heralded workers are holding an afternoon rally to protest what it calls “Met Opera’s Poverty Proposal.”

The 150 Met employees who are part of 32BJ SEIU, the country’s largest property service worker union, are clamoring against significant reductions to their health and pension benefits in the Met’s proposed contract as the two sides close in on a looming deadline at the end of the month. Read More

Port Authority

PA Announces New Chairman, $90M for Bus Terminal Improvements

Port Authority Bus Terminal

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced $90 million in improvements for its 64-year-old bus terminal yesterday.

“The functionally obsolete facility no longer meets the transportation needs of the hundreds of thousands of riders that pass through the terminal every day, and the Port Authority is committed to identifying comprehensive improvements within the context of its existing Capital Plan,” according to a joint prepared statement by Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye and Deputy Executive Director Deborah Gramiccioni. “This initiative will make interim improvements to the terminal as the agency explores a program to deliver a redeveloped facility.” Read More

Market Report

CompStak Q2 Report: Manhattan Office Market ‘Bullish’

Compstak graphs

The latest quarterly Manhattan office rent report from commercial lease database CompStak details a “bullish” market where new Manhattan office leases represented more than 66 percent of new leasing activity this year, versus only 54 percent in 2013.

Despite a $2.07-per-square-foot decline in Midtown South rents to $52.62, analysts pronounced all three markets healthy, citing large-scale leases at Brookfield Place and the World Trade Center, as well as notable signings like Yelp‘s 152,232-square-foot deal at 11 Madison Avenue. Read More

Art in Real Estate

Pulitzer Poet Immortalizes Atlantic Avenue, Talks Brooklyn Development

3 Sections

Carroll Gardens scribe Vijay Seshadri, the 2014 winner of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, took home the honor this spring after devoting a 16-page poem to thoughts evoked by his taxi rides along Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue to John F. Kennedy Airport, and the chair of the writing program at Sarah Lawrence College recently took time to explain his mixed views of the street and its continuing development in an exclusive email interview with Commercial Observer.

The 60-year-old married father of one’s “3 Sections,” published by Graywolf Press, features a poem called “Personal Essay” that portrays the busy corridor which runs from the Brooklyn waterfront, past the new Barclays Center and into Queens before terminating at the Van Wyck Expressway as a Walt Whitman-inspired launching pad for existential questions and, in the poet’s words, a “redemptive movement.” Read More

Mortgage Observer

Shaoul Grabs $71M for Kips Bay Dorm

340 East 24th Street (PropertyShark)

Ben Shaoul received $71 million in construction funds to build his Kips Bay dormitory project, the developer confirmed to Mortgage Observer. The prolific buyer and his partner bought the building last December.

The three-year loan, backed by 340 East 24th Street, was provided by Santander BankRead More

Mortgage Observer

What Happens if J.P. Morgan Shuns the FHA?

Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of J.P. Morgan

Earlier this week, straight-talking J.P. Morgan chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon vented his frustration on an earnings call, threatening to stop doing all mortgage business with the Federal Housing Administration, which insures many loans originated and securitized by his bank.

Mr. Dimon expressed his reticence—asking rhetorically “should [J.P. Morgan] be in the FHA business at all?”—following $600 million in fines recently levied against his firm for making defective loans. That punitive fine invoked so-called triple damages, wherein the bank owes three times as much as the value of the bad loans.  Read More

Midtown East Rezoning

City Officials, SL Green Respond to Grand Central Landlord

Vanderbilt Corridor

A week after a contentious Department of City Planning hearing on the Vanderbilt Corridor proposal to rezone five blocks in Midtown East, City Planning officials and attorneys for SL Green Realty Corp. doubled down on their view that the proposal won’t block Grand Central Terminal landlord Argent Ventures from selling the historic property’s unused air rights.

With Argent and preservation advocates raising tough questions about whether a go-ahead to build the One Vanderbilt office tower adjacent to Grand Central without buying any transferable development rights from Argent would hinder needed aid to a city landmark, SL Green lawyers and city officials responded with a full-throated defense of the plan. Read More

Sales Beat

SL Green to Sell Three Manhattan Assets

180 Broadway. (PropertyShark)

SL Green Realty Corp. has agreed to sell three of its Manhattan assets, the real estate investment trust announced today. The deals, for 2 Herald Square, 180 Broadway and 985-987 Third Avenue, will generate net cash proceeds of $240 million, according to a press release.

The REIT will sell the leased fee interest in 2 Herald Square for $365 million. SL Green acquired the interest in joint partnership in 2007 before consolidating its position in 2010, the landlord said. Read More

Foreclosure Auctions

One Madison Sponsors Win Retail Space at Auction

One Madison at 23 East 22nd Street.

Related CompaniesCIM Group and HFZ Capital have acquired the commercial piece of their One Madison, the condominium at 23 East 22nd Street formerly called One Madison Park.

At a foreclosure auction held this afternoon at the State Supreme Court building at 60 Centre Street, the three companies submitted the winning $3 million bid for the lone commercial unit in the building, which is between Broadway and Park Avenue South. There were no competing bids. Read More

Lease Beat

Three Leases Signed at 30 Cooper Square

30 Cooper Square. (PropertyShark)

Three leases have been signed for a combined 45,500 square feet of space at 30 Cooper Square, according to a release issued by Cassidy Turley.

Cooper Union, a privately funded college with administrative offices in the building, renewed its lease of 26,000 square-feet of space with a term upwards of five years, according to a representative for Cassidy Turley, while two, new 10-year leases have been signed by 72andSunny Partners and S Plus, Inc. Read More

Midtown East Rezoning

One Vanderbilt Gets Advisory Nod from LPC

One Vanderbilt

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission lent their advisory support to the design of SL Green Realty Corp.’s potential 1,350-foot One Vanderbilt tower during a public hearing yesterday on whether the company’s schemes will form a harmonious addition to the site adjacent to Grand Central Terminal.

After a presentation on the building’s look, its planned public space and the company’s vision of how the glass base of the building would fit into the historic area, officials with the city agency who examined the company’s schemes as part of a 2010 Bowery Savings Bank building development rights purchase by SL Green gave their backing to the proposed Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates skyscraper as a welcome addition to the landscape. Read More

853 Broadway

The Plan: 853 Broadway

Rendering of 853 Broadway.

Last week, landlord The Feil Organization began removing the scaffolding at 853 Broadway, a building that come the holiday season will be home to a new MAC cosmetics store.

Feil’s Brian Feil, the vice president of leasing, and Robert Fisher, the director of commercial leasing at the building, talked to Commercial Observer about the company’s $10 million-plus renovation project spanning the first five floors of the property. Construction at the site, at the corner of 14th Street and Union Square, began about a year ago. Read More